October No Late Homework Club

Today we had our second No Late Homework Club party. If you don't know what that's all about, read this post. This month's reward was an outside "tailgate party" with food and tailgating games (I don't know the real names for these games, but the bean bag toss with the two boards and the ladder one with the golf balls.) Turns out, most fifth graders don't know how to play these games, so it probably would have been a good move to teach them the games first. Since I was stuck at the popcorn machine the whole time, so I didn't get to witness the partial chaos or take any pictures. Maybe that was a good thing.

Anyhow, we are still brainstorming what to do for November. Maybe some of you would have an idea?

On an unrelated note, I remember reading somewhere that a teacher rang a bell every time he/she heard a negative comment in her class so that the students would realize just how often they were doing it. Does anyone remember reading that or where I might find it?

Totem Poles - Lots of Pics

During our study of the Northwest Coastal Native Americans, we did a totem pole project that I found on Pinterest. I downloaded and used the keynote PDF to introduce the project. Students also had copies of If You Lived with the Indians of the Northwest Coast (which is a GREAT series of books) that they could also use for reference.

I asked them a series of questions that my co-worker found somewhere to help them choose what animal to create:
  • Have you ever felt drawn to one animal or another without being able to explain why? This could be animal, including birds and insects.
  • Does a certain kind of animal consistently appear in your life? This doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical appearance, it could be represented in other ways such as receiving card and letters with the same animal pictured over and over, unexplainable dreams of a particular animal, watching television and seeing the same animal featured time and time again, or, actually having the animal show up.
  • When you go to the zoo, a park, wildlife area, or forest, what are you most interested in seeing?
  • Are there any animals that you find to be extremely frightening or intriguing?
  • Is there a particular animal that you see frequently when you’re out in nature?
  • Have you ever been bitten or attacked by an animal?
  • Have you ever had a recurring dream about a certain animal, or a dream from childhood that you have never been able to forget?

Then I had them make a sketch of what they chose. It was hard for them to understand that they needed to take up the whole paper, not just draw a picture of their animal on the paper. I also emphasized that they would not be using any markers or colored pencils for their animal. Everything had to be cut and pasted from construction paper. Some of them turned out better than others, but they really enjoyed this project. I was impressed by the creativity and ability of some of the students!






Native Americans Linky

September No Late Homework Club

I'm probably cheating for this month's Monday Made It, but I've spent a lot of time making signs and things for various reasons. I was particularly proud of this group of signs and invites...

Assignment completion is a big deal at the middle school level. When my fifth grade was at the intermediate school, we were able to have a weekly time at the end of Friday to reward all fifth graders who were caught up on work. Everyone would gather in the gym to play dodgeball while those who weren't caught up had to stay in the room and finish. It was highly motivating.

Unfortunately, we don't have the same opportunity at the middle school. Scheduling just didn't allow it this year. And the students started to not care if their work was in or not.

So I had a brilliant (I think) idea! The No Late Homework Club. We gave students a fresh start and told them that if they had no late homework for the rest of September, they would be invited to the end-of-month movie and snack party. Things started to turn around! We ended up having half of the students qualify!

Here are the invites that I made for each student:

And the signs for their lockers:
For October, we are planning an outside "tailgate" party for those students who have no late assignments for October. We will be playing flag football and games such as the bean bag toss and the golf ball toss (I just realized that I have no idea what these games are really called...hmm...). They can wear jerseys and we'll provide snacks. We started promoting it as soon as the movie was over, especially to those students who didn't make it this month. I anticipate a lot more participants next time! :)